The Ministers of Tourism in the European Union are constantly discussing measures to open the borders to tourists, possibly this summer. What does this mean for holidaymakers?
There is a risk that opening too early could lead to further outbreaks and outbreaks of infection, so governments will be cautious. Health and safety of the population determine all decisions. Social distance will also continue during a holiday; many bars, restaurants and cultural locations will remain closed this summer and medical tests may be introduced prior to flight. There is even talk of the introduction of a “Covid-19 passport”, a type of medical certificate to confirm the health condition of the holder, although the details are still being worked out and it is not certain. That’s because there’s still no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 are immune to a second infection.
For the time being, it is still minimally possible to cross borders within the EU. On 17 March, officials called on Member States to close the borders until mid-May, allowing only essential travel from outside the EU to 26 countries, plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. An official opening date has not been announced and French President Emanuel Macron hinted last week that EU borders could remain closed until September.
However, some EU countries that have managed to keep infection rates low are beginning to test the possibilities. Below is a list of who does what and when. However, these are only proposals and can be withdrawn at any time. It’s important to check the latest government advice before making decisions about a trip. It is likely that a home holiday will be the safest option for summer 2020.
Croatia’s tourism minister, Gari Cappelli, suggested that campsites, marinas and hotels could open in remote areas. “A modest recovery could begin with these three target areas that could provide some isolation and privacy,” he told local media.
The Government of Cyprus says that it will open in part to tourists in July and that only travellers from countries that have managed to keep the rate of infection low are allowed to enter, including Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Greece and Israel. ‘We hope to know within a few weeks when tourists can come from these countries,’ Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios told the Financial Mirror.
Greece’s tourism minister says the country will prepare to welcome foreign tourists from selected countries from July. ‘Opening the boundaries is something that needs to be discussed with health experts and we hope they will give us the green light to open gradually,’ Charis Theocharis told the BBC.
Spain’s Canary Islands could be open to domestic visitors again on 1 August, with plans to welcome international visitors by October. Tourism Minister Yaiza Castilla told local media that she wants to turn the islands into ‘a world laboratory for tourism safety’.